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CCFN to EU: ‘Do the Right Thing’ on Havarti Designation

July 2, 2014

The Consortium for Common Food Names, which NMPF supports, is urging the European Union to make the right decision on a controversial proposal granting Denmark exclusive use of the generic cheese name “havarti” in the EU. CCFN filed comments objecting to the proposal as part of the EU’s review of “geographical indications,” or names associated with specialized foods from a particular region.

“We expect the European Commission to do the right thing, and respect the common name havarti, which is used around the world,” said Jaime Castaneda, CCFN executive director. Castaneda noted that not only is havarti widely used in non-European countries, but there is an international havarti product standard that is recognized by Europe and others.

“There are ways to protect the names of geographical specialty foods and beverages without impeding the rights to use generic food names,” he said. “If the EU ultimately registers this GI, it would be one of the most egregious examples of Europe’s GI policy gone wrong.”

In recent years the EU has moved past the concept of protected geographical names such as “Parmigiano Reggiano” to seek exclusive use of the common term related to the name, such as “parmesan” or simply to claim ownership of a common name, as in “feta.”

The Consortium for Common Food Names is an independent non-profit favoring high GI standards and the adoption of worldwide model geographical indication guidelines.